Hiking in Enontekiö

The hiking trails in this region are probably some of the best in the world. They vary in length and difficulty but all trails almost always have some form of wilderness cabin provision. All the cabins are maintained by the state, and vary from reserved locked huts, to open lean-to shelters. All have toilet facilities, a wood supply and a nearby water source. The cabins that can be found in each key area, are shown here.

The mountains blossom throughout July and August and hiking, etc, is possible from mid June to the end of September, although you want to be on a fairly high trek if you visit between c. 20th June and 20th August because of the mosquitos. By the time we are into the Autumn, particularly the first three weeks of September, the landscape is vibrant with colour. This is known as the ruska period and is when most of the Finnish ‘summer’ tourists come to the area – almost as many as visit in the Spring for long warm days of skiing.

General Notes about Campfires.

Metsähallitus has decided to grant general permission to light fires in the terrain in Lapland - so long as there isn't a forest fire warning in effect. At such times, it is completely forbidden. In nature reserves for which a maintenance and utilisation plan or regulations have been issued, you must comply with the items outlined in these documents when lighting fires.

Please note, however, that you may only use fallen dry branches and twigs and small stumps as kindling/firewood. If you wish to use fallen trees for this purpose you need a separate permit, which costs €4.25 per cubic metre of wood. Felling trees is strictly forbidden. The permit can be purchased from The Fell-Lapland Nature Centre.

When selecting a spot for your campfire use an old campfire site if you can find one. In places where there is a maintained campfire site within 500 metres, all fires must be lit at the campfire site. Lighting campfires is not recommended in areas with few trees.

This section has been further subdivided into the following areas:


Hiking and Orienteering in the Hetta Area
Hiking through the Hetta Pallas National Park area
Hiking at the Southern End of the National Park
Hiking in the Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area / Enontekiö Highland Watershed Area
Hiking in the Pulju Wilderness Area
Hiking in the Tarvantovaara Region
Hiking in the Kilpisjärvi Region
Hiking in the Malla Strict Nature Reserve (part of the Kasivarsi Wilderness area, near Kilpisjärvi)
Hiking in the Kasivarsi Wilderness Area / Kilpisjärvi Region

Hiking and Orienteering in the Hetta Area

There are two starting points for trails on the north side of Hetta. They are the Nature Centre Skierri and behind the Enontekiö centre school buildings. If you are heading towards Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park you need to first cross Lake Ounasjärvi. Private tourist services provide boat trips across the lake, but you can catch one boat from near the silver shop beside the municipality offices – ask in the silver shop for more details.

Jyppyrä Nature Reserve
Jyppyrä at the eastern end of Hetta, is definitely worthy of a visit whilst in Hetta - whether for its nature, the Fell Lapland Nature Centre or the Downhill Ski Resort. In earlier times Jyppyrä was considered a place of worship and small sacrifices used to be made at the site of an ancient seita rock (a holy rock) situated near the top of the hill. According to local legend, this rock was rolled into Lake Ounasjärvi in the 1800s in an attempt by local missionaries to put a stop to pagan worship. Today, various nature trails which set out from the Fell Lapland Nature Centre not only highlight such historical insights but also provide information on the local flora and fauna. The shortest trail (c. 2km) is a circular route that ascends to the summit of Juppyrä on a small forest trail and then descends via a well-maintained wooden staircase. In the autumn allow yourself plenty of time since you will no doubt be distracted by all of the abundant varieties of Lappish berries that can be found along the sides of the trail.

Jyppyrävaara Hill itself is covered by pine dominated forest, dotted with birches as well as aspen and mountain ash. There are only a few lone spruce trees in the area, as the northern growth line of spruce is 20 km south of the area. At the summit, a campfire shelter provides the perfect vantage point for the surrounding area. The surrounding fell landscape astounds visitors with its beauty time after time.

Hunting Pits
More than one hundred remains of prehistoric hunting pits have been found in the Jyppyrä area. These pits - used for hunting wild reindeer - were one of the earliest hunting methods we know. The hunting pits were dug in the dense sandy soil. The walls of the pit were often supported by wooden structures. Sometimes the pit was also covered with branches and bark and disguised by moss and lichen with a sharp stone or stake placed at the bottom of the pit. The prehistoric remains of the hunting pits are still visible as slight depressions in the terrain.

A complete system of hunting pits has been found in the Jyppyrä area; a total of 107 remains of hunting pits. It has been concluded that this system was used when hunting in groups at the turn of autumn and winter. A large number of hunters would participate. They may even have caught thousands of kilos of reindeer meat after a successful hunting period.

They form a chain-like system of hunting pits, the total length of which is 1,5 km. Remains of hunting pits are among the very few remains of prehistoric hunting equipment.

Sometimes the reindeer that had ventured into the area fell into the hunting pits accidentally. However, the largest load of game was obtained in the kind of hunting where beaters chased reindeer towards the hunting area. Wedge-like fences facilitated hunting, as they prevented the reindeer from escaping in the wrong direction. Hounds were also used in chasing reindeer.

In olden times, the Jyppyrä area was a winter grazing zone for wild reindeer. The reindeer hunting sites formed an entity, which comprised, in addition to hunting equipment, a base, meat storages and a place of worship, i.e., a seida. It is said that the Jyppyrä seida was located on top of Jyppyrä Hill. It was a large square stone that stood on four small stones. According to folklore, the builders of the Enontekiö church rolled the seida rock down into Lake Ounasjärvi at the bottom of the hill in the 1800's.

Hunting with the help of Fences came later...
Reindeer hunters used a wedge-like fence structure called 'vuomen'. The ends of the fence structure were built on the treeless fell area and they may have been located at a distance of 20 km from each other. The first section of the fence structure comprised stakes that were placed at lengthy intervals. Peat or ragged clothes were put on top of the stakes to scare the reindeer.

At the spot where the guiding fences drew closer to each other, the rows of stakes changed into wooden fences. The fence structure's wedge-like point continued as a track, at the end of which were a few steep steps. Finally, there was a large fenced pit at the end of the structure.

Hunting with the help of fences took place when the weather was good for skiing at the turn of winter and spring. The beaters spotted a herd of reindeer on the fells, chased them between the rows of stakes and finally into the large pit. According to legend, a man called Päiviö and his party, who lived in Peltovuoma, Enontekiö, in the 1600s, managed to catch 1,000 reindeer in one go with the help of such fences.

From Spear-shaped Pole to Deer Gun
Among the first known small arms were spear-shaped poles and hand bows. The reindeer hunters who skied used a spear-shaped pole and a hand bow as ski poles. Both of them had a ring on them to facilitate skiing. It is said that the spear-shaped pole that was used in Enontekiö was 140 cm long. The string of the hand bow that functioned as the other ski pole was only drawn during the hunting event.

The first actual deer guns came into use in the 1600s. Hunters were able to fire precise shots from up to a distance of 70 metres with the deer gun.


The Jyppyrä Trail (1.6 km)
This trail starts from the yard of the Skierri Fell Lapland Nature Centre and goes to the lookout point located at the top of Jyppyrävaara Hill. The trail has been marked with red-painted sun symbols, and there are steps and a rest spot along the trail. The information boards along the trail tell you about the area's history: the customs of the Midsummer celebration and the seida rocks. You may return to Skierri along another trail. The Jyppyrä Trail belongs to the trail network of the Hetta Area.
Services: A look-out campfire shelter at the top of Jyppyrä Hill.

Peurapolku Trail (2 km)
The trail has its starting point at Fell Lapland Nature Centre Skierri and is the most accessible trail. Whilst it has negligible ascent, it is still interesting as a classic example of a Scandinavian board-walk trail, with illustrated information boards (in Finnish) about the history of the wild forest reindeer hunting that was prolific in that area, historically. The trail leads along level easy to cross terrain on the south side of Jyppyrä Hill. The following trails go via the Peurapolku Trail: Kuntopolku Trail and the Palosenjärvi and Pahtajärvi Trails. There are several old hole traps, game running fences and boards with information on hunting along the trail. The trail is marked with poles that have hoof prints. The path eventually forms a ring at the end of the one-kilometre trail. You can return to Skierri along the same trail. There are also information boards along the trail describing old reindeer hunting methods and wild reindeer that were hunted to extinction. There are several remains of hunting pits along the Peurapolku Trail. They are protected by the Antiquities Act, which is why hikers must keep to the path.

Juhannuspolku Trail & Postipolku Trail, 1-2 km
You still see these trails advertised but actually, they have been superseded by a new trail network that has grown up following the development of the downhill ski resort in the Jyppyra area. Hence, check out the latest trail maps for the most recent information.

The Kuntopolku Trail (4 km)
This also starts from the Skierri yard between the two buildings. The trail has been marked with green marks. The first part of the trail goes along the same route as the path that leads tothe top of Jyppyrä Hill. The trail goes around the hilltop from the eastern side, and at the midway point it joins with the lit jogging track. The trail returns to Skierri along the same route as the Peurapolku Trail.

The Palosenjärvi Trail (9.5 km)
Again, this starts from the Skierri yard between the two buildings. The trail has been marked with brown marks. It circles around the Jyppyrävaara hilltop from the eastern side and goes across the upper circle of the lit jogging track and continues across Jyppyränselkä. On the slope of the Paljasselkä Fell, the trail branches off from the Pahtajärvi Trail and turns south towards the centre of Hetta. Lake Palosenjärvi remains on the eastern side of the trail. At the point where the trail meets the lit jogging track, it turns to the northeast. You can return to Skierri along the Peurapolku Trail. The entire trail has been marked with brown marks.

The Pahtajärvi Trail (18 km)
And again, this starts from the Skierri yard between the two buildings along the same route as the Kuntopolku, Palosenjärvi and Näkkälä Trails. The Pahtajärvi Trail has been marked with blue marks. The trail continues on Jyppyrä Hill across the lit jogging track towards the Paljasselkä Fell. At Sissanginselkä the Pahtajärvi Trail turns west and the trail to Näkkälä continues to the north. After the Närpistönjoki lean-to shelter, the Pahtajärvi Trail turns south towards Pahtajärvi.

The most rugged landscape along the trail is at Lake Pahtajärvi, where the lake is down in a canyon and the trail leads along the upper slopes on its east side. There are beautiful wetlands along the trail, where an abundance of Globe Flowers (Trollius europaeus) and the Wood Crane's-bills (Geranium sylvaticum) grow. Just before the village of Hetta, the Pahtajärvi Trail joins the lit jogging track along which you may return to Skierri. The last kilometre of the trail goes along the Peurapolku Trail. There are information boards or signposts in the branches of the Pahtajärvi trail. There are duckboards on the trail but despite that you will need waterproof hiking boots.

Lake Pahtajärvi is a long and narrow lake which flows through a steep gorge on the north side of Hetta. Although getting there involves either a 5km hike or a longer round-trip by skis, it is worth the effort to see the steep cliff walls on both side of the lake. During winter a skiing trail leads across the lake and during summer hikers can admire the area from Pahtajärvi Trail.

Services: Sissanki rental hut (Sissangin kota) which is located between Sissanginselkä and Paljässelkä. The hut can be rented for overnight stays otherwise it is locked. Närpistö lean-to shelter is located at the trail’s halfway point.
Sights: Lake Pahtajärvi, a long and narrow canyon lake.

Orienteering
The terrain in the Hetta area is ideal for orienteering. The area around Jyppyrä is the best place for beginners while the Ounastunturi area is challenging even for experienced orienteers that are in the best shape. There is a fixed orienteering course at Jyppyrä and evening races are organised there occasionally. Maps made for orienteering are sold by Fell Lapland Nature Centre Skierri and a new course is set every summer.

A new orienteering training course is also available at CAPE Lapland on the Hetta Huskies farm routes. Levi also hosts world-ranking ski orienteering events usualy held in Spring.


Hiking through the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park

The scenery in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park is dominated by fells surrounded by forests and mires in their natural state. Because the area’s nature is clean and beautiful and the terrain varying, the park is a wonderful place to hike, ski and enjoy the outdoors. The silhouette of the fells can be seen practically at all times and the marked trails lead visitors to the National Park’s most beautiful look-out spots. The picturesque beauty of the Pallastunturi Fells has made the area one of the Finnish national landscapes. Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park is Finland’s third largest National Park. The area of this park has doubled now that Pallas-Ounastunturi National Park and Ylläs-Aakenus Nature Reserve have been combined to create Pallas-Yllästunturi. The most southern fell of the chain is Yllästunturi Fell. It is outside of the park’s boundaries and used as a tourist ski resort hill. The highest fell in this chain is Taivaskero, which is 807 metres high. In the north the view is of the gently sloping upland-like Ounastunturi Fells.

Geologically Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park is located between Northern Finland, Forest Lapland and Fell Lapland, making it a very varied and interesting habitat. In the park’s forests and on its fells there is a mix of northern and southern species. It is also the area in which visitors can see the transition area where peoples livelihood changes from farming to reindeer husbandry.

Hetta-Pallas Trail (55km)

One of the most popular hiking destinations in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park is the 55-km-long Hetta-Pallas Hiking Trail. The route for this trail was outlined in 1934. The trail leads over fells, sometimes descending to the ravines below to once again as if to prepare hikers for the breathtaking view from the top of the next fell. By the beginning of June snows have for the most part melted from the area, but because of the water from melted snow and ice the trail is wet and susceptible to erosion. The best time for hiking begins at Mid-summer in late June. Just before winter sets in mid-October there are only a few random wanderers on the trail.The trail can be travelled from south to north or from north to south.

NB: You can even run this route in a few hours if you take part in the 55km/1800m of ascent Hetta Pallas Ultratrail Run at the end of July.

If you are doing this under your own steam, then the main start and end point are Hetta Village and Pallastunturi Visitor Centre. On the south side of Hetta Village hikers must cross Lake Ounasjärvi by boat. When coming to the lake from the direction of Pallas hikers must lift a signal flag, so that a boat will come pick them up.

The trail is considerably well marked and there are several places to stop and rest along it. This means that it is a suitable hiking destination for those with little experience. It is best, however, to have a basic knowledge of hiking and survival skills. Additionally you should keep in mind that the weather in the fell area can change rapidly and in the case of an accident help is far away. The trail is not suited for the disabled.

It is a good idea to plan your hike well in advance by obtaining outdoor map Pallas-Ylläs which show the trail.

The trail leads through varying terrain. Part of the terrain is easy to travel over, but there are also steep ascents and descents, such as Pyhäkero and Lumikero Fells. At some points the trail is very rocky but the rocks have for the most part smoothed out, making it easier to hike across them. There are duckboards across the wettest parts of the trail and hikers do no need to wade across rivers at any point, as there are bridges for this.

There are both open huts and ones that can be reserved approximately every 10km.
The first (open huts) are at Pyhäkero. Sioskuru and Hannukuru has both open and reservable huts. Montellin Maja’s hut is open, and there is both open and reservable accommodation at Nammalakuru. Cabins just off the main track include the open wilderness huts at Montellin Maja, Tappuri and Rautuoja.

Approximately 10km from Pallas there is a wilderness kota café serving coffee and very good doughnuts made by a lady who lives in the café for the season. At the end of the trail in Pallas there is a nature centre with exhibits and films on the nature of the area and a hotel which, when open, is a lovely location for relaxing, post hike, and enjoying a well-earned rest and coffee.

Vuontispirtti – Montelli Cabin – Vuontispirtti (Ylikyrö), (10km roundtrip)
This is a beautiful, fairly steep trail to a small, very old cabin, nestled in the middle of the fells. It is probably one of the most beautiful spots in the National Park and is also accessible in winter by a ski track. You can connect from this trail to the main Hetta-Pallas trail.

The trail from Vuontispirtti connects to the Hetta - Pallas Trail at Montelli open wilderness hut and is approximately 5 km long. This connecting trail starts from a private road to the boundary of the National Park, and continues from there up into the fells marked with white cross signs. Near the timber line the markings of the trail change to short poles with orange tops.

Ketomella-Tappuri Trail, (20km)
This trail leads up on old boardwalks to the Sami reindeer marking village of Tappuri. It is a fairly flat trail with easy walking although the boardwalks need care. Once at Tappuri, you are up amongst the high fells amidst stunning landscape.

You can connect from Ketomella to the main Hetta-Pallas trail. The connecting trail starts off at the old ferry-stop at Ketomella and joins with the Hetta - Pallas Trail about 1 km west of Tappuri open wilderness hut. The trail is managed by the Finnish Road Administration and it is marked with green poles with white cross signs the center of which is red. The distance from Ketomella to the Hetta - Pallas Trail is approximately 9 km.

Pippovuoma Wetland Trail from Ketomella, (10km)
This trail starts from the roadhead at Ketomella and is mainly on boardwalks which aren’t in great shape so it is a challenge for the agile. It is a beautiful marshland trail, however, featuring unique aapa bogs, with dramatic fell scenery to the west.

Pyhäjoki Nature Trail, (Pallasjärvi), (3 km)
This is a small but very beautiful trail alongside the steep, alpine-style stream that descends from the fells to the Pallasjarvi lake. Vegetation around the stream grows thickly so the scenery is fairly different from the normal rugged Lapland scenery and well worth a visit.


Hiking at the Southern End of the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park

In the area around the Pallas Visitor Centre there are also a number of nature trails: The Vatikuru Nature Trail (3 km) begins at Pallastunturi Visitor Centre and winds around the slopes of the Pallastunturi Fells. Pyhäjoki Nature Trail (3 km) begins at Lake Pallasjärvi and leads visitors to lush brook hollows. During winter, visitors can take the 3-km Pallas Ski Trail and learn about winter and about nature adapting to these extreme conditions.

And, around the Kellokas Visitor Centre there are further nature trails:

A very popular trail called Velhopolku Trail (Wizard´s Trail) begins at Kellokas Visitor Centre. The trail is 4-km-long and leads through Varkaankuru Ravine. At Kellokas visitors can also get onto Kiirunan kieppi Trail (12 km), which circles Keskisenlaki Fell in Ylläs, and Seitapolku Trail (9 km). There is a 1-km-long winter trail in the area. A 17-km-long trekking nature trail at Aakenustunturi Fell has exhibits on the area’s animals, geology and history. Joutsenpolku Trail (6 km) at Latvajärvi displays the area’s birds, mammals and fish.A 1-km-nature trail with information on volcanoes can be found next to the road running between Äkäslompolo and Kittilä.

Pakasaivo and the Kirkkopahta Seida Rock

A relatively hidden gem at the southern end of the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park is the Pakasaivo 'Saivo' / ravine Lake. It is a fascinating geological formation with a unique natural beauty and, as such, is a hiking destination with strong mythological traditions.

It is situated in the middle of the forested land which runs between Muonio, Kollari and Ylläs. The Pakasaivo protected forest, 325 ha, and the Seitapahta recreational forest, 8 ha are both managed by Metsähallitus. Both the lake and the nearby Kirkkopahta seida rock are ancient Sámi holy places.

“The most peculiar waters in Lapland are the saivo lakes - these wondrous lakes could only exist in Lapland, the land of wonders. Actual perfect saivo lakes are closed-off fell and ravine lakes that have no kind of stream running to or from them." (Lapin muisteluksia [“Memoirs from Lapland”], Samuli Paulaharju:1922).

The narrow one-kilometre-long lake was formed in a rupture valley moulded and cleaned by the melting waters of the ice sheet. The northern end of the lake is remarkably round and regular in shape, and it is considered the largest giant’s kettle in Finland. Pakasaivo, also known as the “Hell of Lapland,” is 60 metres at its deepest, and the steep cliff walls surrounding the lake reach up to 60 metres above water level.

The ravine lake is the second deepest body of water in Northern Finland after Lake Inarijärvi. People used to believe saivo lakes to have two bottoms, with the fish sometimes disappearing to the lower waters.

The place of worship at Pakasaivo was most likely located on the rugged cliffs off the eastern shore of the northern end of the lake. There are small caverns in the eastern wall of the ravine, which have possibly served as sacrificial caves. The Kirkkopahta rock near Pakasaivo is a lone large boulder in an otherwise even-floored pine heath. Samuli Paulaharju describes Pakasaivo and Kirkkopahta as follows:
“From time immemorial, ancient men and their forefathers have dwelled here, respecting and wondering at the handsome Pakasaivo lake and going to worship at the large Seitapahta behind the lake.” (Lapin muisteluksia [“Memoirs from Lapland”], 1922.) “And Seitapahta is also known as Kirkkopahta, as it has been a church of sorts for the people of Lapland.” (Seitoja ja seidan palvontaa [“Seida places and seida worship”], 1932).

The Pakasaivo and Kirkkopahta relic areas rank amongst Finland’s cultural environments of national significance. The Pakasaivo area is a protected forest established by Metsähallitus, and the areas surrounding Seitapahta form a recreational forest. Visitors to the Pakasaivo area should follow marked routes when hiking in the area. Damaging the relics is strictly forbidden. In a nearby area, to the north of Äkäslompolo, there is another well-known Sámi holy place, Lake Äkässaivo with its Seitapahta seida rock.

You can visit Pakasaivo and Kirkkopahta mainly from spring to autumn when there is no snow on the ground, as the forest road leading to Pakasaivo is not ploughed regularly in winter. During the winter months, Pakasaivo is accessible via a snowmobile route. There are no personnel in the area.

Pakasaivo is located roughly 25 km from Äkäslompolo, some 40 km from Kolari and roughly 67 km from Kittilä. The distance from Muonio is roughly 80 km. The distance to Kirkkopahta is a few kilometres shorter. There are signposts leading from the main road to the Pakasaivo parking area.

At the Pakasaivo parking area, the larger Lapp 'kota' hut by the parking area serves as a café in summer. There is a signpost with information about the destination in Finnish, Swedish and English. A roughly 200-metre-long wide trail leads to the lookout point on the shores of Pakasaivo, and it can also be taken by wheelchair and with prams or pushchairs. Viewing platforms and connecting stairways have been built on the verge of the ravine.

Next to the Pakasaivo parking area, there is a Lapp 'kota' hut with a campfire site. The area also has a dry toilet. Roughly one kilometre to the west from Pakasaivo, on the shores of Lake Pakajärvi, there is a scenic steep-hilled ridge. The northern shore of the lake used to house the dwelling of the local Suikki Sámi family.

Driving from Kolari along road no. 21 (E8), take the Äkäslompolontie road (no. 940) roughly 10 km north of the village centre and drive almost all the way to Hannukainen. At Hannukainen, turn northwest onto the Pakasaivontie road and continue for roughly 13 km. There are signposts along the road, and at Pakasaivo, the road veers to the left towards the parking area.

Driving from Kittilä, take the Ylläsjärvi-Kolari road (no. 939) immediately after the village centre. After Ylläsjärvi village, take the road leading to Hannukainen (no. 9404). As you reach the Kolari-Äkäslompolo road, turn left and then, after 700 metres, right onto the Pakasaivontie road. For the rest of the way, please see above.

Driving along the Muonio-Kittilä road (no. 79), take the Äkäslompolontie road (no. 940) at Muotkavaara. Drive through Äkäslompolo village and 1 km past Hannukainen. For the rest of the way, please see above.

Pakasaivo is located along the snowmobile route south of Muonio. The destination is accessible from Äkäslompolo, Ylläsjärvi, the Muonionjoki River, Kolari, Kittilä and Muonio. You do not need a permit for riding a snowmobile on the routes.

To Kirkkopahta: The destination is located along the Pakasaivontie road, less than 3 km before Pakasaivo and some 100 metres off the road. At Kirkkopahta, there is a parking area on the west side of the road. The seida rock is visible from the forest road. The Pakasaivontie road (13 km) off Hannukainen is not ploughed regularly in winter!


Hiking in the Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area

This area is sometimes referred to, by some, as part of the Enontekiö Highland Watershed Area.

The rolling fell and forest landscapes of Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area make for wonderful hiking terrain, but the area’s large bogs are best to circle. There are no marked trails within Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area, but there are many old unmarked trails - most of which are visible on terrain maps - as Pöyrisjärvi has always been an important fishing, hunting and reindeer husbandry area for locals.

Access Permissions

Everyman’s Rights are valid in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area. Pets are allowed in the area’s open or reservable wilderness huts only if the others in the hut allow. You can leave your route plan and timetable at for example Skierri, Fell-Lapland Nature Centre. Remember to also report on your return, so that a search party is not sent after you needlessly. Search and Rescue services charge for needless search operations. Although Finland has a broad network for mobile phones, there are some areas in the Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area without signal. There may also be some smaller spots where there is interference. If this happens try to climb to a higher place or go into an open area. It may be worth removing the SIM card from your phone and then trying again to make emergency call. Different phones also differ in their coverage.

Top Tips

When wilderness trekking in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area you should always have a map, a compass and proper clothing, footwear and overnight gear depending on the length of your trek. Please note that weather conditions change very quickly and it can snow even in summer. Make sure you pack a first-aid kit. Hiking in wilderness areas is more demanding than on marked trails. For this reason it is good to be an experienced hiker before attempting a wilderness trek. The most popular time to visit the wilderness area is from June to September, but there are no peak seasons, when the area would be overly crowded. The Hetta-Näkkälä Marked Trail (26 km) This trail is part of an old postal route along which post was taken from Hetta to Näkkälä and from there to Pöyrisjärvi and Kalkujärvi. The trail is also suited for mountain biking. As a hiking trail the Hetta-Näkkälä Trail is not very demanding, but as a biking trail it is, because at different points the trail is rocky. There are duckboards on the trail, but not at every wet spot, so it is best to have waterproof footwear. The Hetta-Näkkälä Trail is marked with tall green poles with a white-red cross at the top.

From Hetta it is easiest to get to the Näkkälä Trail along the trail that starts from the Skierri yard between the two buildings. At first, the trail goes the same way as the Pahtajärvi Trail, which has been marked with blue marks. At Sissanginselkä, the Pahtajärvi Trail turns west while the Näkkälä Trail continues to the north. The rest of the Näkkälä Trail has only been marked with tall green poles located at a distance of about three hundred metres.

The Hetta-Näkkälä snowmobile track starts out right next to the hiking trail and goes in the same direction. Hikers should be careful to not to walk along it. The snowmobile track crosses bog areas and there are no duckboards on it. The trail has been marked in the Enontekiö guide and recreation map (opas- ja virkistyskartta) 1: 100,000. It has also been marked as a path in terrain maps of the area. You can get more information on the trail from Skierri, Fell-Lapland Nature Centre.

Services: Sissanki Lapp pole tent is located at the start of the trail, about 7 km from the village of Hetta. It is locked and can be rented for overnight stays. There is an open wilderness hut at the trails halfway point.
Sights: The Näkkälä seita rock is located near the village of Näkkälä at the end of the trail. Seitas are old sites of worship.

The Kalmakaltio-Pöyrisjärvi-Näkkälä Trail (~ 93 km)
This trail is not marked but it is quite clearly visible in the terrain. The footpath is extremely demanding and passes through the middle of Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area. When wilderness trekking in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area you should always have a map, a compass, hiking boots and proper clothing as weather conditions can change very suddenly. There are no service structures along the footpath and rivers must be crossed by wading. In the past this was used as a postal route from Hetta to Näkkälä and on to through via Pöyrisjärvi to Kalkujärvi. The footpath is suitable for hiking and mountain biking.

You can get onto the Kalmakaltio-Pöyrisjärvi Trail at Kalmakaltio Spring. Kalmakaltio is a car ride away from the village of Nunnanen. From Lake Naltijärvi you have two different route options towards Lake Kalkujärvi. The eastern of the two crosses the border into Norway, so it’s not recommended if you have items that need to be declared in customs or if you have your dog with you. These two trails meet up at Suukisautsi from where the trail continues on via Kalkujärvi to Pöyrisjärvi. There is an unmarked, but clearly visible and easy to follow, 18 km trail to the village of Näkkälä. The Kalmakaltio-Pöyrisjärvi Trail is shown in the Enontekiö guide and recreational map 1:100 000 (in Finnish).
Services: Kalmakaltio and Naltijärvi open wilderness huts and on more western trail Lenkihaka open wilderness hut. Pöyrisjärvi open/reservable wilderness hut is near Lake Pöyrisjärvi. There are lodging enterprises in the village of Nunnanen and at Kalmakaltio and there are wilderness cabins available in Näkkälä.

Näkkälä - Pöyrisjärvi - Näkkälä, 36 km round trip
Kalmakaltio - Naltijärvi - Kalkujärvi - Pöyrisjärvi, 75 km
Services: The Kalmakaltio, Naltijärvi and Pöyrisjärvi open wilderness huts (as well as the reservable hut at Pöyrisjärvi, are of relevance to this hiking section although the hut positioning leaves quite a long and commiting day in the middle of the hike. On the more western trail, the Lenkihaka open wilderness hut might be of use. There are also lodging enterprises in the village of Nunnanen and at Kalmakaltio for before or after the trek.


Hiking in the Pulju Wilderness Area (Area: 614 sqkm. Established 1991)

Sauli KoskiPulju Wilderness Area is known for its large mires and its numerous hills and fells. It is a perfect destination for experienced trekkers. During late summer the area’s abundant cloudberry crop attracts day trip visitors to its mires. A rather large road runs through the centre of the wilderness area so it is a very convenient and easy-to-reach target for those cloudberry pickers with orienteering skills. A road and snowmobile track run through the area from the village of Nunnanen to the village of Pulju. Pulju Wilderness Area is surrounded by several protected areas. Lemmenjoki National Park lies to its east and Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area to its northwest. The northern boundary of the wilderness area follows the Finnish-Norwegian border. Øvre Anarjohka National Park (www.dirnat.no) is on the Norwegian side of the border.

Reindeer husbandry is a significant source of livelihood in Pulju Wilderness Area. The reindeer of three herding co-operatives graze in the wilderness area. The boundaries of the municipalities of Enontekiö, Kittilä and Inari meet up at Korsatunturi Fell. This is also the place where the boundaries of the Näkkälä, Kuivasalmi and Sallivaara herding co-operatives run. The northeast boundary of the Kyrö herding co-operative runs on the lower slopes of Korsatunturi Fell. Herders often meet each other at Korsatupa wilderness hut.


Hiking in the Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area

Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area (Area: 670sq.km. Established 1991) is a perfect retreat for experienced hikers looking for peace and quiet as well as unforgettable nature experiences. Whooper Swans, for instance, nest in large numbers in this area but they are only one of the extremely diverse bird population in this area and the Lätäseno-Hietajoki Mire Reserve, which borders Tarvantovaara in the northwest. The wilderness area is still relatively unknown by the public, but experienced bird watchers have found it.

Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area is located west of the village of Leppäjärvi and north of the village of Kaaresuvanto. The north boundary of the wilderness area runs along the Finnish-Norwegian border. The northern limit of pine forests runs at the southern boundary of the wilderness area. Fell tundra rises near the Norwegian border. The highest peaks in these fells are over 600 m above sea-level. The area’s forests are mainly dominated by fell birch and about a third of the area is mire. The mires are mainly palsa bogs, which are bogs with frost mounds rising from them.

Many of the rivers that flow into the River Muoniojoki have their source on the fell tundra or at the area’s lakes and mires. The largest of these tributaries are the Rivers Tarvantojoki and Harrijoki. There are plenty of new catches for avid fishers, who are looking for new challenges.

The Kultima-Leppäjärvi Trail (25km)
The easiest place to set off on the Kultima-Leppäjärvi Trail is along a sandy road from the village of Kultima. The trail is a good day-trip route and leads through mainly lichen filled dry forest, but there are damper sections on it without maintained duckboards. The last 5 km of the trail from the River Palojoki to the village of Leppäjärvi is a dirt track and there are privately-owned cottages along it. The trail is also suitable for mountain biking.
Sights: At the trail's halfway point you can turn off the route and go 1 km north off the trail to Lake Pahtajärvi (a popular lake name in this area for any lakes bounded by steep faces). The lake is clear and surrounded by cliffs.

The Kultima-Leppäjärvi Trail (25km)
The easiest place to set off on the Kultima-Leppäjärvi Trail is along a sandy road from the village of Kultima. The trail is a good day-trip route and leads through mainly lichen filled dry forest, but there are damper sections on it without maintained duckboards. The last 5 km of the trail from the River Palojoki to the village of Leppäjärvi is a dirt track and there are privately-owned cottages along it. The trail is also suitable for mountain biking.
Sights: At the trail's halfway point you can turn off the route and go 1 km north off the trail to Lake Pahtajärvi (a popular lake name in this area for any lakes bounded by steep faces). The lake is clear and surrounded by cliffs.

The Palojärvi-Salvasjärvi Trail (20km)
This is an old postal track which is maintained by the Finnish Road Administration and is still regularly used by locals. This trail, which is clearly visible in the terrain, runs from the north side of the village of Palojärvi to reindeer herders' summer cabins at Lake Salvasjärvi. It has kilometre signs marking sections of it but you should still take a map and a compass with you into this area to make sure that you don't get lost. The track crosses over into Norway at one point, so you should technically have your passport with you. When approaching Lake Salvasjärvi the trail starts to ascend onto the tundra plateau landscape. The trail's end point is on the east side of Lake Salvasjärvi at Salvasjärvi open wilderness hut. The reindeer herders' summer cabins are to the south of Lake Salvasjärvi. The trail is also suitable for mountain biking, but it is demanding as there are great changes in altitude and vast mires.
Services: Salvasjärvi open wilderness hut.


Hiking in the Kilpisjärvi Region

Kilpisjärvi is the main village in the arm of Finland and the main starting point for hikes around the village as well as hikes in both the Käsivarsi Wilderness Area and in the Malla Strict Nature Reserve.

Halti and Sanna
Halti and Sanna are the best known hiking destinations in the Kilpisjarvi region. Saana is located right by the village Kilpisjärvi, visible from all corners of the area. It is said to be the best known fell in Finland, due to its easily recognisable shape. Halti is within the Käsivarsi wilderness area. The hike to Halti is covered below as a component of the hike on the Nordkalottleden Trail.

At 1324 metres, Halti is actually Finland’s highest fell, even if Saana (1029 m) is the most recognisable. Halti lies close to the border between Finland and Norway, with marked hiking and skiing trails starting from Kilpisjärvi.

Trails of note in this area include:

• Iitto Nature Trail, 500 m
• Saana Nature Trail, 6 km
• Saana Trail, 8 km
• Tsahkaljärvi - Saanajärvi - Saana, 12.5 km
• Saanajärvi Trail, 4.5 km
• Salmivaara Trail, 2 km
• Malla Nature Reserve hiking trail and the Three Nations’ Intersection, 11 km
• Halti round-trip,
• Nordkalottleden Trail, 800 km

Litto Nature Trail on the Palsa Moors
En route to Kilpisjärvi you have a chance to stretch your legs on boardwalks which take you out across the peat marshes to view an area of natural significance - an area of Palsa Moors. Palsas are rare perennially frozen peat and mineral wetlands. They are found in the arctic permafrost region which is often dozens of meters thick. Palsas are formed in the thickest parts of the permafrost, where the ice begins to push a mound upwards into the peat layer. The peat insulates the preventing it from melting in the summer. Palsas can be 2,000 years old, seven meters tall, and 20 meters wide. Over time, the palsas grow breaking the layer of peat. Heat is then able to reach the center causing the palsa to collapse. A pond forms on the remains.

You can see palsas in Iitto along Highway 21, 56 km north of Karesuvanto. Wooden broadwalks lead you right to them. Iitto is located on the Käsivarrentie road, about 40 kilometres from Kilpisjärvi. There is a rest area on the river’s side of the road, where you can park your car. Walk along the board walk for about 100 metres, there are signs.

Sanna
Sanna, located right by the village Kilpisjärvi, is the most recognisable fell as you enter Kilpisjarvi and, although it looks like it would be quite a hike to get to the top, it is actually a relatively easy stroll up its gently sloping side. In ancient times, the spirits of Saana and Halti were worshipped to guarantee a good hunt. Today, these sacred fells still leave you speechless.

Scrambling up to the top of Saana is a challenge worth doing. The longest set of stairs in Finland helps you at the steepest part of the four kilometer journey; two kilometers of solid wooden steps with lookout platforms. You are free to hike along the marked trails, but entrance to the Saana Nature Reserve and Research Area is forbidden between 15 May and 1 September. You may spot a surprise or two when you hike through the unforgiving environment – such as one of the many rare species of butterflies.


Hiking in the Malla Strict Nature Reserve & The Three Nations' Border Stone

One other place of significance in this area is the Three Nations' Border Stone where the borders of Finland, Sweden and Norway meet. The cairn that stands on a man-made island in lake Koltapahtajärvi in the Malla Strict Nature Reserve.

The original rock cairn was erected in 1897. Legend tells that workmen carried rocks for a week to complete the structure. However, the cairn did not survive the vast masses of shifting ice in spring. The current concrete marker was built in 1926. In summer, you can get there by taking the Malla boat, which travels from the Kilpisjärvi village to Koltalahti. The walk from Koltalahti to the cairn is just under three kilometers. You can also reach the cairn by walking 11 kilometers through Malla Strict Nature Reserve. You are free to circle the cairn – unless of course you have goods to declare at customs. Citizens of the Nordic countries do not even need to have their passports with them.

The Malla Nature Reserve is Finland’s oldest nature conservation area, established back in 1916. Covering an area of approximately 30 km2, the nature reserve is in just as natural a state as it was when it was founded. The trail that traverses the park from the Siilaskoski rapid water section to the Kitsiputous waterfall to the three nation intersection is the only route in the park permitted for using in the summertime. The marked trail covers a distance of approximately 11 km. There is a boat connection departing from the village of Kilpisjärvi to the Koltalahti jetty, which is only about three kilometres from the three border intersection.

You may hike the Malla Trail from Kilpisjärvi to the Three Nations’ Border Point (11 km) and return the same way. Another option is to travel onboard the M/S Malla from Kilpisjärvi to Koltalahti. From there you may walk to the Three Nations’ Border Point (3 km) and continue along the Malla Trail (11 km) to Kilpisjärvi.

Trail through Malla Reserve to the 3 Borders stone (11 km) has its starting point at the parking area at the northern end of the village of Kilpisjärvi. The trail soon crosses the River Siilasjoki and rises steeply through a mountain birch forest. After a couple of kilometres, the mountain birch zone is left behind and the terrain turns into an easy-to-walk fell heath. The trail to the top of Pikku-Malla Fell diverges from the main trail after 2.5 km.

The Malla Trail continues winding through the undulating fell landscape past small ponds. The trail becomes rockier and begins to ascend gently towards Iso-Malla Fell. Close to the Kitsiputous Falls, the terrain becomes even steeper, and you have to cross the only scree stone field on the trail. After the falls, the trail winds along the fell slope thick with willows in places, and gradually descends back to the heath.

The small brooks towards the end of the trail are normally quite easy to cross, but in the flood season the crossing is more challenging. For the last few kilometres the trail follows a reindeer fence. Before Lake Kuohkimajärvi, the trail makes a winding descent in the birch forest. At Lake Kuohkimajärvi you may either turn to Kuohkimajärvi open and reservable wilderness hut, or continue another half a kilometre to the boundary mark. The Malla Trail is part of the Nordic Nordkalottleden Trail.

Services: There are information boards in Finnish, English, Northern Sámi and Norwegian at the starting point in the parking area. There are no hiking services in Malla Strict Nature Reserve. At Lake Kuohkimajärvi there is an open and reservable wilderness hut and a campfire site. M/S Malla operates to Koltalahti daily in the summer.

The protected areas are adopting the principle of hiking without littering. Hikers are expected to bring their own litter back from their hike. The Malla parking area has a waste collection point for mixed waste. Sights: Kitsiputous Falls, Pikku-Malla Fell, Three Nations’ Border Point.

The Koltalahti - Three Nations’ Border Point excursion (3 km) starts with a half-hour boat trip through the arctic Lake Kilpisjärvi. While onboard, you will have time to admire the beautiful view of the Tuipali and Paras Fells, and of Malla Strict Nature Reserve with the Kitsiputous Falls on the northern side.

From Koltalahti - after the initial hillocky part - the trail continues as an easy, even trail towards the boundary mark. The trail follows the Swedish-Finnish border, now and then popping into the birch forest. The rest of the trail runs along the shore of Lake Kuohkimajärvi. Services: There are no hiking services between Koltalahti and the Three Nations’ Border Point. Sights: Three Nations’ Border Point.

The trail to Pikku-Malla Fell (7 km) is a to-and-from route. First you stay on the Malla Trail that starts at the parking area. After a couple of kilometres, you will see a signpost by a large boulder pointing to the left - turn there. The trail ascends steadily, and only towards the end is there a steeper slope. On top of Pikku-Malla Fell you will have an amazing panoramic view to the south. Services: There are no campfire sites or other hiking services on this route.

From the Three Nations’ Border Point, you may also head for the large fells in Norway and Sweden. Paras Fell, with its pointed peak, is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Norway. By following the marked summer trail, you may walk to Goldahytta hut (3 km) and continue to the foot of Paras Fell (14 km). From Gappohytta, you may continue hiking to Pältsastugan hut in Sweden (12 km) and from there to Koltalahti (14 km).

The continuation of the route through to Abisko is outlined in the section below.

From Goldahytta, another option is to choose the trail passing Malla Strict Nature Reserve on the western side; this trail takes you to the Kilpisjärvi-Skibotn road, one kilometre from the Norwegian-Finnish border.


Hiking in the Käsivarsi Wilderness Area (2 206 sq.km. Established in 1991)

Käsivarsi is Finland's second largest wilderness area. it is located in the NW corner of Enontekiö and has an area of 220 630 hectares. There are no roads within the wilderness area, but it is not uninhabited. Raittijärvi Lapp village is inhabited by some families through most of the year.

There is a wilderness cabin on the shore of Lake Kelottijärvi, on the edge of the Käsivarsi wilderness area.

Käsivarsi Wilderness Area’s grand fells and fish filled lakes and rivers attract hikers, skiersand fishers alike. Possible starting points for trips in the wilderness area are the village of Kilpisjärvi at the foot of Saanatunturi Fell or from along the Neljän tuulen tie Road “The Road of the Four Winds”, which leads into the Käsivarsi region. Käsivarsi is Finland's most popular wilderness area and has a very unique nature. The fells in the NW corner are the only ones in Finland which are part of the Scandinavian watershed area, the Scandinavian Mountains. Other than Saanatunturi Fell, all of Finland's fells over 1000m in height are in this Wilderness area.

One marked trail leads through the wilderness area, the Kalottireitti - Nordkalottleden Trail, 60 km of which is within the wilderness area. Other trails can be found outside the boundaries of the wilderness area near the village of Kilpisjärvi. Though there are no other trails within the area, hikers are free to trek off-trails as much as they like.

Halti Trail (108km)
Halti, Finland’s tallest fell, 1328 m, located approximately 55 km from the village of Kilpisjärvi. From Kilpisjärvi you can reach the Halti summit by taking the (Calotte Route) Kalottireitti.

The Halti trail is part of a much larger Nordkalottleden Trail. The Nordkalottleden Trail is 800 km long but a 70-km-section of this runs through northern Finland in the area surrounding of Enontekiö in the Käsivarsi region. The most popular part of the Finnish section is between Kilpisjarvi and Halti (the highest peak in Finland at 1324m). The trail starts at Kilpisjarvi and heads towards Halti at which point you turn around and head back the way you came. The walking is easy and encompases some of the hilliest terain in Finland (though that’s not saying much). There are numerous huts (both open and reserved) along the route.

The Arctic Trail hiking route attracts many hikers each year (approx. 5 000 - 10 000/year), who tend to overnight in the village before or after their wilderness adventure. Many tourists trek to the Three Countries Border Marker or climb to the summit of the sacred Saana fell. In addition, some tourists explore Malla Nature Reserve, visit Siilastupa Information Point or explore the regions many nature trails.

Nordkalottleden Trail
The entire Nordkalottleden Trail is 800 km long and a 70-km-section of this runs through northern Finland in the area surrounding of Enontekiö in the Käsivarsi region. The other sections of the trail run through Norway (380 km) and Sweden (350 km). As the trail is so long it can be hiked in sections.

There is a regular bus service to Kilpisjarvi but travel there will take the better part of half a day, so build in a days worth of travel to you itinery. The best place to start is from the Kilpisjarvi Visitors centre at the southern extent of the village – if you get dropped in the centre of the village, it is probably best to walk back down the road.

Nordkalottleden Trail is a demanding hiking trail and not suitable for beginners. All the structures planned for the trail have not yet been built and at some points wilderness huts are very far apart. We recommend that you bring a tent with you. There are 40 wilderness huts along the entire trail, and hikes between them span from 10 to 50 km.

When setting out hikers should make sure that they have proper equipment and clothing as weather conditions can change very suddenly. We recommend that you do not venture into the fell area alone.

Parts of Nordkalottleden Trail are covered by scree rock and therefore demanding to hike. The larger rivers such as the Bierfejohka and Vuomakasjoki, two of the largest in Finland, have bridges over them, but smaller streams must be crossed by wading.

There are both open wilderness huts and reservable wilderness huts along Nordkalottleden Trail. You can stay over night for 1 to 2 nights in open wilderness huts or rent a bunk from a reservable wilderness hut.

There are 3 starting / end points for this trail. They are located in northern Norway at Kautokeino, in southern Norway at Sulitjelma and in Sweden at Kvikkjokk. The Finnish section leads through Käsivarsi Wilderness Area and Malla Strict Nature Reserve. You can get onto the trail at the village of Kilpisjärvi.

The trail offers versatile northern fell landscape. It passes through easy to travel fell highlands, lush birch forests, glaciers and steep-sided gorges. There are many parts with abundant fell vegetation.

Nordkalottleden Trail is made-up of several old trails and new barely travelled trails. In Finland the trail is marked with white 40-cm-high wooden poles which have orange tops. In Norway the trail is marked on stones with paint signs. In Sweden the trail is marked with red crosses and signs with route symbols. The Nordkalottleden Trail can be hiked in sections.

Kautokeino - Kilpisjärvi, about 190 km or alternatively Kilpisjärvi - Halti - Kilpisjärvi about 108 km, Kilpisjärvi - Abisko about 190 km Abisko - Staddajåkka - Kvikkjokk 394 km, or alternatively Abisko - Staddajåkka - Sulitjelma, 329 km

Crossing Borders

Nordkalottleden Trail crosses over national borders at several points. Hikers should make sure that they are not carrying any items which you would need to declare in customs. Those wanting to take their dogs on their hike should contact The Finnish Customs well in advance. Contact The Finnish Food Safety Authority for information on mandatory vaccinations and certificates.

The Section of the Trail in Finland

The portion of the trail, which is in Finland, is a summer hiking trail. The best time to hike there is from the beginning of July to the middle of September. The trail is busiest during August and September. During winter it is possible to ski from Kilpisjärvi to Halti Fell, but there is no marked skiing trail between the two.

In Finland, as well as crossing the Malla Strict Nature reserve, the Nordkalottleden Trail leads through Käsivarsi Wilderness Area. Everyman’s rights are in effect in the wilderness area.

Hikers should reserve about a week for the Kilpisjärvi - Halti - Kilpisjärvi section of the trail. When hiking from Kilpisjärvi to Abisko or Kautokeino you will need to reserve even more time than this. These two sections of the trail require experience; especially in Norway the trail requires diligence as the markings for the trail are painted onto rocks and it can be difficult at times to follow the route.

There is a water point in the vicinity of each open and reservable wilderness hut in Finland. This water from these points is clean and safe to drink. The location of each water point is printed in each hut’s guest book. Streams along the trail have clean water.

Ready chopped firewood is supplied to all open and reservable wilderness huts in early spring. As wood is brought to Käsivarsi Wilderness Area from quite far away and transportation is expensive we ask that visitors do not burn firewood outside of wilderness huts.

Metsähallitus has 8 open and 6 reservable wilderness huts on Nordkalottleden Trail. The open wilderness huts at Lake Saarijärvi, the River Kuonjarjoki, Lake Pihtsusjärvi and Halti Fell are located in the same building as the reservable wilderness hut there. The open and reservable wilderness huts at Lake Meekonjärvi are about a half kilometre from each other. Kopmajoki open wilderness hut is situated near the Norwegian border.

Kilpisjärvi - Kautokeino, about 190 km

Kilpisjärvi - Saarijärvi 11 km
The best place to start is from the Kilpisjarvi Visitors centre at the southern extent of the village – if you get dropped in the centre of the village, it is probably best to walk back down the road.

The starting point for Nordkalottleden Trail is at the southern end of Kilpisjärvi Village on the grounds of Kilpisjärvi Visitor Centre. Another starting point for the trail is located at the north end of Kilpisjärvi Village at the local tourist centre Kilpisjärven Retkeilykeskus. If setting off from this second starting point the distance to Saarijärvi increases significantly.

When departing from Kilpisjärvi towards Halti the first sight along the trail is Saanatunturi Fell, which is on the edge of Kilpisjärvi Village. Saanatunturi Fell is a dominant feature of the landscape all the way from Kilpisjärvi to Saarijärvi.

The two trails which start at the south and north ends of Kilpisjärvi meet up at the mouth of the river which flows out of Lake Tsahkaljärvi. The trail then continues along the south side of the lake and turns north east. There are bridges across both the river which flows from and the one that flows into the lake.

At the foot of Muurivaara Hill the trail crosses into Norway for a while. No permits are needed for crossing the national border, but those things which must be declared at customs can not be taken across the border.

The terrain around Saarijärvi open wilderness hut is rocky, but there are a couple of places to set up tents near by. There is a bridge across the river which flows by the hut.

Saarijärvi - Meekonjärvi 19 km
On the north side of Lake Saarijärvi the trail enters Käsivarsi Wilderness Area, which is the largest wilderness area located in the municipality of Enontekiö. From Saarijärvi the route climbs up a slightly boggy slope between the Fells Tuolljehuhput and Kuonjarvarri. The next stretch, Kuonjarvaggi, is rocky; but the going is fairly easy.

Descending to the hut at the River Kuonarjoki the first large cliffs come in view. The cliff ways drop vertically from a height of 200 metres. At the foot of the cliffs there are great boulders, which have dislodged from the cliff walls.

From the hut at Kuonarjoki the trail leads along a level, easy-to-travel path through Meekonlaakso Valley. The Meekonjärvi open and reservable wilderness huts are situated in the valley between the hills Saivaara, Meekonpahta and Annjalonji. There is a bridge across the River Pierfejohka.

Meekonjärvi - Pihtsusjärvi 12 km
Saivaara, a high and exceptional looking hill rises on the south side of Porojärvi Valley. On top of this hill there is a memorial plaque for Finland’s former president Urho Kekkonen. If you wish to see this memorial plaque you can climb to the top of the hill from its east side.

On the west side of Lake Meekonjärvi Nordkalottleden Trail travels below a high cliff wall through rocky terrain and continues towards Lake Vuomakasjärvi, where there is a bridge across the river. After hiking across Vuobmegasvarri Fell you will come to Pihtsusköngäs Falls which fall from a height of 17 metres. The falls are one the sights along the trail, and this is a wonderful place for hikers to stop and take photos.

From the falls the trail continues along easy to cross terrain by the river bank and along the shore of Lake Pihtsusjärvi to the Pihtsusjärvi open and reservable wilderness huts.

Alternative Route Option 1: Setting off from Lake Lossujärvi

If you do not wish to travel along Nordkalottleden Trail between Kilpisjärvi and Halti and back again, there is an alternate starting point. From the main road (E 8) on the Norwegian side of the border it is an 11 km hike along the bank of the River Didnujoki to Lossujärvi cabin. From there it is a further 12 km to Nordkalottleden Trail. This section of trail has not been marked in the terrain, so a map of this part of Norway (Helligskogen 1:50 000) is necessary.

The easiest way to get to Lake Lossujärvi from Nordkalottleden Trail is to circle around the north side of the Lake Vuomakasjärvi and other bodies of water. Hikers can cross the River Pihtsusjoki at the wading spot, which is located next to a Border Guard lookout hut. There is no bridge across the River Vuomakasjoki, though some maps show there to be one.

Pihtsusjärvi - Halti 12 km
A separate trail turns off Nordkalottleden Trail at Pihtsusjärvi hut. It leads to Halti, Finland’s highest point, which rises to 1324m. The Halti open wilderness hut and the reservable wilderness hut are located 1,5 km west of the Halti trail on the north shore of Lake Haltijärvi. There is a guestbook at the top of Halti Fell, which those who have conquered the hill can sign.

From Halti hikers can travel back to Kilpisjärvi along Nordkalottleden via Lake Pihtsusjärvi, Meeko, and the River Kuonjarjoki. If you do not wish to return along the same route along which you came you can also get to the road leading to Kilpisjärvi via Lake Lossujärvi.

Alternative Route Option 2: Halti Fell - Lake Guolasjärvi

From Halti Fell it is possible to head north for 10 km, over the border into Norway and to Lake Guolasjärvi. The trail between Halti and Guolasjärvi is not marked in the terrain. Before setting out you should get a map of this area of Norway (Ráisduottarháldi 1:50 000) and make sure you have a compass.

The rocky surroundings at Ráisduottarháldi are considerably more difficult to travel across than the terrain in the Halti area in Finland. A fog can cover the area in mere moments and the rain makes the lichen covered stones to become dangerously slippery. The Guolasjärvi-Halti trail is recommended only for very experienced hikers. Mobile phones only function at the highest points on the trail.

There is a road leading from Lake Guolasjärvi to Kåfjordbotn and on to Skibotn. During summer a coach travels from Finland to Skibotn. The distance from Guolasjärvi to Kåfjordbotn is about 30 km. The road is narrow and at parts in poor condition. The distance from Guolasjärvi to Kilpisjärvi is about 120 km.

Pihtsusjärvi - Somashytta 13 km
From Lake Pihtsusjärvi the actual Nordkalottleden Trail turns eastward and climbs over Lovttokielas. The trail passes between two small lakes and continues along the banks of the River Kopmajoki to Lake Somasjärvi. Kopmajoki open wilderness hut is on the shore of the River Kopmajoki.

In Finland the trail is marked with 40 cm high brown bricks, but after crossing the border into Norway the trail is marked with stone signs. About 100 m above the River Rahpesjohka on the hillside just west of Lake Somasjärvi there is an open hut owned by Statskog-Troms. The hut sleeps 8 persons.

Somashytta - Saraelv 35 km
From Somas the trail follows an ATV track along the north-eastern edge of Coalbmevaggi. The terrain is easy to travel treeless tundra. A separate trail leading to Saraelv turns off the ATV track. Hikers can find accommodation either at Sappen or Saraelv. The closest shop is located in Storslet 49 km from Saraelv.

Saraelv - Nedrefosshytta 27 km
From Saraelv Nordkalottleden follows the bank of the River Reisaelva through Reisdalen Valley. The landscape is covered by lush green leafed forest and it is therefore difficult to find a place to set up camp. At some points there are rocky areas where reach the river bank while at other points the trail climbs to higher land and leads through pine forest. During August and September huge raspberry bushes hinder hiking. The trail however is marked and clearly visible.

Before setting off on a hike you should know what the areas water level is as when moving on from Saraelv through Reisdalen Valley there are several small rivers which you will have to cross. When these rivers flood the terrain in the Reisaelva area can difficult to hike across. During rainy summers or early summer when the rivers are flooding its possible that Nordkalottleden in its entirety and its trail marking are completely covered by water. If waters are this high you can hike from Saraelv to Vuomadathytta hut along a fell trail which travels at a higher altitude. This trail is not marked however and you will need maps of Norway (Raisduottarhaldi and Mollesjohka) to find your way.

The first three huts upstream from Saraelv are owned by Statskog. Ansamukka hut is located 3 km from Saraelv on the opposite shore of Raisaelva and it is locked. Sieimahytta hut is also owned by Statskog and located on the east side of the River Reisaelva. The wilderness hut is divided into two parts of which one side is open and the other locked. Ansamukka hut and the locked side of Sieimahytta hut are not in use because of their poor condition.There is a boat on the bank of the River Reisaelv so that hikers can get across. If the boat is on the wrong side of the river hikers can wade across if the waters are low. There is a suitable wading place a few hundred metres upstream from the wilderness hut. Rodhytta hut is a locked maintenance hut owned by Statskog.

Those hiking along Nordkalottleden Trail can see the magnificent Mållesfossen Falls, which is one of Europe’s highest waterfalls (269 m). The falls are located in the River Mollesjohka a tributary of the River Reisaelv. Mollesjohka flows into Reisaelv from the east. If hikers want to get close to the waterfall they must first cross the River Reisaelv.

About 2 km upstream from the falls there is a small turf-roofed hut owned by Statskog-Troms called Vuomadathytta. This turf hut is located by the trail. About 5 km from this hut is another turf-roofed hut Stakarhytta on the shore of the River Reisaelva. The next hut after this is Nedrefosshytta about 2 km upstream from Stakarhytta. There is a hanging bridge across the river. At this point it is also possible to climb up a cliff wall to admire the view to the entire breadth canyon.

Nedrefosshytta - Raisjärvi 30 km
About 3 km upstream hikers will find the Imfossen Falls. The waterfall and its surrounding area are considered the most magnificent sights on Nordkalottleden Trail. The trail to the waterfall is at parts steep and rocky. Hikers should be cautious as during rainy times especially the trail above the canyon can be dangerous. After the waterfall for about 1 km the river follows a 50 - 75 m deep canyon. Above the falls there is a small open wilderness hut, which sleeps two hikers.

The trail climbs gently up from the valley to the peak and meanders to Lake Raisjärvi over rocky terrain occasionally leading through fell-birch forest. About 3 km in the direction of Lake Raisjärvi from Imfossen Falls there is a small open turf hut on the bank of the River Luvddijoki. The turf hut has room for two and is equipped with a wood stove. Hikers will find the turf hut if they turn left off of Nordkalottleden Trail right before arriving at the River Luvddijoki. There are no signposts to the hut. The turf hut is situated on the north side of the river about 300 - 400 metres from Nordkalottleden Trail.

At the top of Bouzuoaivvi the trail follows the edge of a bog. Make sure you do not lose the trail. The River Njargajåkka is the most difficult on the trail to cross, but when the water level is low you can wade across in rubber boots.

At the north end of Raisluobbal the route turns and leads through a bog between Jalgesvarri and Aitevarri, and joins an all-terrain-vehicle track on the slopes of Hålvinvarri. The bogs on either side of Ciegnaljåkk are difficult to travel. The river can be waded across if you have rubber boots.

Hikers arrive at Reisavanhytta hut, which is owned by Statskog-Troms, after passing by a transformer station on the west side of Lieggascårro. From the hut you can proceed to Kautokeino along the road which leads to the Bidjovaggen mines. The distance to Kautokeino along this route is 40 km.

Raisjärvi - Kautokeino 51 km
This section of the trail is marked with orange-red paint markings on birch trunks and rocks. The trail leads over the top of Rivkus and after Jeageloaivi turns southeast over the northern point of Doelljadasvaara Hill and from there by the north shore of Lake Majanasjavri to Cuonovuoppi fell hut. The trail travels through birch and willow forest and the terrain is boggy at parts. You can get to Cuonovuoppi hut from Kautokeino Village by car.

The trail continues through fell-birch forest over the top of Goaskinvarri. It then turns east past Lake Addjetjavri and Boeccegasvarri to their north and leads to Buletjavri. The end point for Nordkalottleden Trail is at the Buletjavri Camping Ground, which is located about 2,5 km from the centre of Kautokeino Village.

Kilpisjärvi South to Abisko in Sweden, 190 km

Kilpisjärvi - Kuohkimajärvi 11 km
Hikers setting off in the direction of Abisko can start their trek by travelling through Malla Strict Nature Reserve to Kuohkimajärvi open wilderness hut.

The starting point for the trail is at a parking area at the north end of the village of Kilpisjärvi just south of Lake Siilasjärvi. You can also get onto Nordkalottleden Trail from the nature trail which starts off at the foot of Saana Fell. Nordkalottleden Trail turns off the nature trail before reaching the top of the fell.

After crossing a road the trail comes to a parking area from where it continues west towards Malla Strict Nature Reserve. When going into a strict nature reserve visitors should read the reserves' rules and regulations before entering the area and always ensure that you stay on marked trails.

From Kilpisjärvi you can also get to Malla Strict Nature Reserve by the Malla Boat, which sails between Kilpisjärvi and Kolttalahti three times daily during the summer peak season if there are enough people on board.

Kuohkimajärvi - Pältsastugan 13 km
Nordkalottleden crosses into Sweden at the point where Finland’s, Sweden’s and Norway’s borders meet. The trail climbs a 100 m incline to the bare top of Tuipali and descends to the lush Pältsa Valley.

No key is needed to get into huts in Sweden, as each hut has an employee present during peak season. This person takes payment for accommodation and can offer information to visitors. Huts in Sweden are owned by Svenska Turistföreningen. Maps which would be useful when hiking in Sweden along Nordkalottleden are for example Fjällkartan BD 1.

Pältsastugan - Rostahytta 12 km
This is a new section of Nordkalottleden Trail and therefore the path is not as clear as at other points. From Pältsa the trail ascends along easy to travel sandy paths to the top of Måskåkaise. After crossing the Norwegian border the trail is marked with stone pillars. The trail leads past the south side of Lake Måskåjärvi towards Rostahytta hut.

Huts in Norway are locked and owned by Troms Turlag. Hikers can get the keys to these huts from Norwegian customs at the Kilpisjärvi border crossing. Keys are given out in exchange for a deposit.

Rostahytta - Daerttahytta 18 km
From Rostahytta hut the trail goes 6 km uphill. After this there is an 8-km-long portion which is very rocky and after this it begins to descend down the side of the fell towards Daerttahytta hut, which is located in Øvre Dividal National Park.

Daerttahytta - Dividalshytta 30 km
Nordkalottleden Trail passes through Øvre Dividal National Park for over 10 kilometres across gently sloping tundra. Between Daerttavagg and Skaktardalen there are a couple of wide river crossings. Next the trail crosses fells. The difference in altitude between the trail’s highest spot and the bottom of Dividal Valley is 600 metres. After crossing the bare tops of fells the valley is surprisingly lush. Dividalshytta hut is located halfway up the Jierta hillside and there is a spectacular view from it.

Dividalshytta - Vuomahytta 19 km
After Dividalshytta hut the trail crosses the River Divielva along a hanging bridge. Nordkalottleden Trail climbs past fell birch forest to open peaks with far stretching views. Vuomahytta hut is located at the mouth of a U-shaped valley.

Vuomahytta - Gaskashytta 20 km
After passing Vuomahytta hut the trail climbs further up. The highest point of the trail is at 950 metres and from there it begins its descent to Gaskashytta and Altevatn.

Gasgashytta - Innset 15 km
The lower slopes of Litjälkt do not offer hikers any wonderful nature experiences with all their shrubbery and muddy trails. Before reaching Innset there are pleasant camping sites. At Innset hikers can find accommodation as well as a bus which will take them to Narvik.

Innset - Lappjordhytta 28 km
Altevatn is a dammed lake which is tens of kilometres long. There are around 400 private summer cottages at its west end. To pass these you must follow the road that goes through the area.

The next portion of the trail has been travelled somewhat less. There are three river crossings. The bridges are often damaged by floods so they may be unsteady. Before reaching the Swedish border hikers come to Troms Turlag´s Lappjordhytta hut.

Lappjordhytta - Abisko 25 km
Nordkalottleden Trail descends down a steep hill towards Lake Torniojärvi and the Swedish border. Pälnovik has an open hut (rare in Sweden) that sleeps 4. The trail leads to Björkliden by the side of a railway track. Abisko Turiststation provides information on train timetables. You can walk the 8 km to Abisko along a road built by workmen who originally built the track.